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  • 17th January 2012 - By Deeptaman Mukherjee

    Ever since serious efforts are made to bring new legislation, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) there are mixed reactions across the tech community. Many feel that it will curb online freedom. As a matter of fact, freedom of speech, expression and thought are guaranteed by constitutions of majority of governments in the world. SOPA which is going to be enacted in United States is likely to get a strong resentment in the hackers’ world. We can understand hackers’ concern better by knowing more about them.

    Hackers are tech savvy people of highest degree. They know the ways and means to deploy new technologies and tinker with existing technologies. Therefore these are highly knowledgeable people who are not exposed to the society as happens with technology experts working in major software development companies or authorities who decide the modalities to work with various technologies. There are two types of hackers. They are ethical and non-ethical. Ethical hackers will not intrude into the private space of individuals or companies. They will not try to steal other’s information or control and monitor your activities in computer or network.

    Ethical hackers contribute to the society in developing protection software such as anti-virus, anti-spam, etc. They have all the technology in their hands to run a parallel network much in the lines of internet. Non-ethical hackers work against the interests of public and they are involved in to fraudulent activities. It is similar to physical encroachment of private space of others or stealing. In fact, they are a menace to society. SOPA will be detrimental to the activities of both ethical and non-ethical hackers. Hence, hackers’ world has serious plans to run their own networks. In this connection, they are planning to go to the extent of launching their own satellites. One of the options explored by hackers is to launch satellites through balloons into earth’s low altitudes. Aviation experts rule out the possibility of achieving the launching effect without using a rocket which gives the main thrust for the body to be injected into earth’s object so that it will continue to rotate in the designated orbit.

    There is widespread criticism on SOPA not only among hackers but also among the interest user communities. For the most, SOPA seems to be influenced and reflected by film producing industry’s lobbyists. The measures that are going to be introduced are more to protect the interests of recording companies. There are number of acts to safeguard the copyrights of audio and video recordings. In fact, they can strengthen those acts if they are any loopholes or practical difficulties in their implementation as per the change in technologies in usage and distribution of recordings.

    SOPA should not limit the fundamental rights of citizens i.e., freedom in every sphere. Those who are involved in producing the draft and implementation should have the fresh blood of internet and changing technologies so that the act will include and protect the interests of millions of people across the globe. If not, those who want freedom to the maximum potential extent may explore alternative ways making them go to the extent of launching their own satellites, protocols and standards and be able continue to enjoy their freedom in a different way.

    What are your thoughts?

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